The oldest living liver transplant survivor from Britain turns 70 this week. Gordon Bridewell, who is a keenfootballer, is happy enough to celebrate his 70th birthday remembering the moments 40 years back when he underwent a liver transplant.
Gordon was operated on New Year’s Eve in 1975 after an inoperable tumor was diagnosed following a sore lump on his leg. The search for a liver donor across Europe was a very difficult task given limited time constraint.
Gordon says: “I’d only been given five months when a suitable liver became available.”
Professor Sir Roy Calne operated him for life-saving liver transplant and also held the credit for performing the first liver transplant in Europe in 1968.
The liver literally performs hundreds of functions that keep a person alive. At the same time, it produces a variety of chemicals. It is estimated that it produces almost a thousand enzymes that handle complicated functions in the body. It also plays a major role in detoxifying the body.
It is perhaps the most versatile part of the body. The liver is a large wedge-shaped organ, the biggest in the body and protected by the ribs as it lies under the diaphragm.
A major function performed by the liver is to convert the amino acids, which are the end products of proteindigestion in the intestines, into useful human protein. The surplus that is not required is converted into urea to be extracted through the kidneys.
Cirrhosis, a condition when the liver gets shrunken, becomes hard, knobby and of yellowish color, is the worst thing that could happen to it. While this condition could be due to serious infection or poisoning, it would also happen because of poor diet and high consumption of alcohol.
Jaundice is also a disease related with liver and is a signal that things are wrong with the liver and a doctor must be consulted immediately.
A liver is very faithful to the body. It keeps providing services even when as much as 80 percent is damaged due to various reasons. It regenerates and keeps functioning. In general, to keep the liver in good condition, mind your diet and avoid consumption of alcohol.